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Texting and driving law goes into full effect this week

Posted at 7:47 AM, Dec 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-30 07:48:17-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Time's up for texters. In just a couple days, the hands-free Florida law will go into effect.

Florida law enforcement will start ticketing anyone behind the wheel in a school or work zone with their phone in their hands starting Jan.1.

As inconvenient as people may see it -- think of it this way. You're driving down the highway and you get a text from a friend.

If you make the choice to look down you're paying the price of putting lives at stake.

Now authorities will have you pay a different price for even risking it.

"It's a good idea. There's too many accidents and you see too many people texting and driving," said Dianne Calhoun, a local driver.

Most people can agree using your phone behind the wheel comes with risks.

Numbers back it up, too.

The National Safety Council says one in every four car accidents in the U.S. are caused by texting and driving.

It's why now even drivers admit getting a ticket could help keep people safe.

"I think it's great," said David Velazquez, a local driver.

The Hands free Florida law has been in an "education period" since October.

While troopers have been giving people warnings Wednesday, the grace period is over and the tickets will start.

"I think it's actually a good thing that it's just being implemented right now."

A first offense is a non-moving violation with a base fine of $30.

The second, within five year a moving violation costing $60 and three points on your license.

Even adding court costs on top of that.

"It's important for everybody. The law was first enacted in 2013 the actual ban on texting while driving...just because the amounts of death with texting while driving skyrocketed," said Brian Kemp, Driving School Tallahassee Communications Director.

Brian Kemp with Driving School Tallahassee says it's about time.

But drivers are still skeptical if enough people will take it seriously..before it's too late.

"Put your phones down. Nothing's that important. If it is...pull of to the side of the road and call 9-1-1. Take their licenses away. Do whatever it takes," said Dianne Calhoun, a local driver.